Newsletter of the PARTNERSHIP FOR CLEAN AIR, INC. (PCA)
Philippines Country Network
Issue No. 8 (September – November 2011)
Compilation of Partnership for Clean Air, Inc.
1. Gov’t. Studying Plans For Skyway On EDSA
MANILA, Philippines – To decongest the flow of traffic on EDSA, why not build an elevated highway over it or dig a tunnel under it?
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is exploring the possibility of building an elevated highway over the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) or digging a tunnel under EDSA to ease traffic congestion on the major thoroughfare.
During a hearing of the Senate finance committee yesterday on the department’s proposed P125-billion budget for 2012, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the plan is still in “a very preliminary stage” but may be started next year if preparations go as scheduled.
2. Bolivia Bans Cars For ‘Day Of The Pedestrian’
Empty of cars, the streets were turned into playgrounds for street artists, performers and exercise instructors.
Cars and buses were taken off the streets of Bolivia as the country held its first “National Day of the Pedestrian”.
All motorised vehicles, including public transport, were banned in cities across the country on Sunday.
Bolivia’s government says it wants to raise awareness about the environment.
3. DOST-funded R&D Project Develops Cheaper Air Pollution Sensor
Researchers fine-tune instrument to help bring down cost of air quality monitoring.
Air pollution is a major concern in the Philippines, with air quality in urban cities getting worse because of the growing concentration of people, traffic and industries.
In Metro Manila, for instance, pollution levels along major thoroughfares are very high. Last year, the air quality monitoring (AQM) stations in EDSA-MRT Pasay and Valenzuela City recorded total suspended particles (TSP) levels of 230 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm). This is more than double the normal standard, which is 90ug/Ncm.
4. MANILA COUNCILOR SAYS NO TO INCINERATORS
MANILA, Philippines—A Manila city councilor has expressed his “vehement opposition” to the use of incinerators to manage garbage in overflowing sanitary landfills.
Reacting to reports that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is mulling bringing back incinerators to handle Metro Manila’s garbage problems, second district Councilor Numero Lim wrote a draft resolution urging his peers to nip that plan in the bud.
In his resolution set to be presented during Tuesday’s council session, Lim warned of the repercussions of having incinerators in the city, citing the high level of pollution that could result from the carbon dioxide and toxic gas emissions.
5. Manila Council Lauded For Thumbing Down Incinerators
Environment health leaders commended the Manila City Council for unanimously passing yesterday a resolution that effectively nipped in the bud proposal to burn Metro Manila’s trash.
Through a resolution sponsored by Councilor Numero Lim of Manila’s second district, councilors from various political blocs expressed “strong and vehement opposition” to the use of incinerators for garbage disposal as proposed by the Metro Manila Development Authority.
The City Council cited health, environmental and economic reasons for rejecting incinerators, adding “that these devices are notoriously expensive because of the energy required to burn garbage.”
In lieu of incineration, the City Council urged the government to enforce “with vigor and political will” proven waste prevention and reduction measures such as source separation, reusing, recycling and composting.
6. Solon Urges Government To Promote Bikes As Alternative Transportation
Writer: Lorelei V. Castillo, MRS-PRIB
A lawmaker is urging the government and the private sector to promote bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation.
Rep. Carmelo Lazatin (1st District, Pampanga), author of House Bill 5335, said the aim of the bill is to encourage the government and the private sector to focus on instituting a serious program in promoting bicycle use.
“The government lacks a serious program to promote bicycle use despite the many benefits it brings, not only to health, but to the economy and environment as well,” Lazatin said.
7. Pasay Joins ‘No-Plastic’ Bags Drive
The Pasay City council has passed an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags in retail stores.
Pasay is the second city in Metro Manila to take the step in protecting the environment by promoting the use of recyclable paper bags and reusable and compostable bags.
The ordinance will take effect in October 2012 to give time for affected stakeholders, especially store owners, to comply with requirements. It was authored by Vice Mayor Marlon Pesebre.
The ordinance seeks to minimize plastic pollution in the city and reduce its expenditure on solid waste management disposal.
8. Antipolo bans Styrofoam, plastic bags
ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines — Business establishments are now required to adhere to the local government’s policy on the ban on the use of Styrofoam as packaging and the regulation on the use of plastic bags in this city.
This came as the two-year moratorium on City Ordinance 2009-370, which prohibits the use of plastic bags on dry goods and regulates its utilization on wet goods and prohibits the use of Styrofoam in the city, ended on Nov. 3, 2011.
Based on the ordinance, which has been disseminated to the public through the city’s Public Information Office, the use and storage of Styrofoam as containers for food, produce and other products shall now be illegal.
9. Drivers, Passengers Say Something’s Very Wrong With LPG-Fueled Taxis
Alexander de la Rosa started driving taxis for a living in 1983. At age 48, he says he’s healthy and doesn’t drink alcohol. “I smoke cigarettes, but not a lot.”
Two years ago, he switched to driving a taxi that used LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as fuel because it was a lot cheaper than regular gasoline. It was an experience, he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, that landed him in the hospital.
Alfonso Tatad has been a cab driver since 1965. He says he doesn’t have any vice. At 67, he looks trim and fit—except that he seems to be catching his breath while talking.
“I got asthma because of driving an LPG taxi,” he says, showing an antiasthma inhaler.
10. EAGLE EYES – Dean Tony La Viña: A transportation, not a traffic crisis
Last week was good for someone like me, who is both an academic and practitioner in the field of governance. It was a week of learning from experiences all over the world in the area of urban development and transportation. This was because of three visitors from the United States of America — Benjamin de la Peña and Amira Ibrahim of Rockefeller Foundation (a U.S.-based philanthropic organization that supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges) and Susan Zielenski, the Managing Director of SMART (Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation), a project of the Transportation Research Institute and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in the University of Michigan. They were here as partners of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) who is undertaking a study on transportation and mobility in Metro Manila.